Proactis helps National Trust achieve £30 million savings as part of its procurement strategy transformation


Vertical sector:

No. of staff:

Third party spend:
£360 million

Customer since:


  • To streamline and manage over 24,000 suppliers.
  • To improve procurement policies, processes, and systems.
  • To make the onboarding of suppliers more efficient.

How Proactis helped

  • Set up a system for suppliers to make goods and services available and for staff to purchase what they need.
  • Suppliers are in charge of their own records and information.
  • Staff have access to approved suppliers to improve on-contract spend.


  • More control over organization-wide spend, with the procurement strategy delivering a £30 million savings programme.
  • Supplier database streamlined from 24,000 suppliers, to 12,000.
  • Supplier onboarding now takes minutes instead of days.
It’s always been a strong partnership between Proactis and National Trust. When implementing such a powerful solution, one of our biggest fears was just being completely overrun. But Proactis took some of that heavy lifting away from us. With the excellent levels of training available and the constant access to advice and support, it really is a marriage of professionalism.

Procurement Director, National Trust


National Trust is a charity and membership organization for heritage conservation in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The organization has 5.6 million members and employs 14,000 staff, with an extra 65,000 volunteers. The Trust manages over 300 mansions, 59 villages, 61 pubs and almost 800 miles of coastline, which results in many challenges for its Procurement department.
Suppliers play a crucial role in enabling National Trust to care for special places around the UK by providing the skills and resources needed to deliver projects and maintain properties.
A decision was made to formulate a procurement strategy as part of a wider digital transformation project. This included streamlining and managing over 24,000 suppliers, integrating a new Unit4 ERP system, and managing spend across the organization.
£30 million savings as part of its procurement strategy transformation


As part of the strategy, the Trust started working with Proactis with the aim of addressing its £360 million third party spend. A senior member of the Procurement team at National Trust, revealed: “A procurement strategy isn’t just about saving money, it’s about delivering organizational goals. Our strategy had three pillars, for consolidating spend and developing contracts, for managing our large projects, such as putting 60,000 meters of pointing onto a castle, and for improving organizational capability.”

For the Trust, the focus was improving its procurement policies, processes, systems and making life easier for its people. It was under this pillar that the Trust implemented a new ERP system, Unit4 Business World, and a new Supplier Management system with Proactis. National Trust is a vast and diverse organization, so it started to work closely with Proactis to help meet some of the procurement challenges”.

There were many challenges, such as staff using old legacy systems and the organization having a database of 24,000 suppliers. “We knew we didn’t even use half of those suppliers, and staff often didn’t know which ones should be used,” revealed the Procurement Director.

“Additionally, the process for setting up new suppliers, or making any changes to any of the information, was complex and paper based. This meant that it often took weeks to onboard a new supplier.”
To improve procurement policies, processes, and systems.

How Proactis helped

“We wanted somewhere that suppliers could easily access to make their goods or services available. And somewhere that our staff could go to purchase from authorized suppliers.” Ultimately, self-efficiency was the goal.

Now, instead of having to input and manage all supplier details, the functionality enables the suppliers to keep those details up-to-date and correct. All National Trust suppliers are registered on Proactis with workflows through its Unit4 ERP system. This means that the organization can monitor and control the set-up of new suppliers for certain categories. This was hugely beneficial as it enabled the Procurement team to direct purchasing towards specific suppliers. For example, if one employee wanted to buy something for a specific project, they would automatically be routed to the most relevant, approved supplier. It was quite groundbreaking at the time with how the Proactis SRM system integrated with the Trust’s ERP system.

The solution has enabled National Trust staff to easily access the goods and services they need to do their jobs. Suppliers are also extremely positive, due in no small part to how this was managed. The Trust went through the process of contacting all suppliers and asking them to register. “To facilitate with this, and with help from Proactis, we developed an onboarding team, with the purpose of getting suppliers registered and up to speed. We have a very diverse range of suppliers from those that make corsets, to helicopter hire, to those that survey bats! We also have huge multi-nationals. We went out to 100 random suppliers first and surveyed them. From the results we identified some key points, for example, using a National Trust logo on our easy-to-use supplier website was vital.”
Access to approved suppliers to improve on-contract spend.


“Proactis has given us much more control over our organization-wide spend. I would estimate that the whole procurement strategy has delivered a £30 million savings programme”.

The Trust’s supplier database is now down to 12,000 suppliers thanks to the Proactis solution. “Our suppliers love the system as it gives them control of their records and information. Our internal staff also love it. We have gone from an average of two weeks to onboard a new supplier, to, on occasion less than an hour. Our record is six minutes!”

As the Trust’s suppliers own their own records through Proactis, this also satisfies the requirements for GDPR. Where other organisations were running around trying to make sure that their records were GDPR proofed, with Proactis, the suppliers own the records, so the Trust was in a really good position.

National Trust has gone on to also implement Proactis’ Sourcing and Contract Management solutions.
Proactis has given much more control over organization-wide spend.
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